January 2021

Footballer, 34, jailed after sending ‘sexual’ pictures to girl, 14

A talented footballer has been jailed for sending explicit pictures and messages to a 14-year-old girl.

Leroy Robinson, 34, played for Aston Villa and West Bromwich Albion as a youngster but turned to drugs and booze after his football dream died, Birmingham Crown Court heard.

Prosecutor Simon Burch said Robinson struck up a friendship with the girl in the summer of 2018.

He said Robinson got her phone number and they began exchanging messages which turned ‘sexual’.

He said: ‘He asked her to perform sexual acts on him. He also sent her graphic pictures of himself and asked her to do the same.’

But Robinson was rumbled after the girl’s mother became suspicious and looked at her phone. She called the police and he was arrested.

Mr Burch said: ‘During his arrest he denied any sexual motivation and also denied sending graphic pictures to her.

‘The girl was interviewed and said she had enjoyed the defendant’s attention at first as he was an older man but she had never had a boyfriend.

‘She became uncomfortable after he started sending her messages of a sexual nature. Her mother was distraught after finding out and she said she hated to see the effect it had on her.

‘The girl suffers from anxiety now due to the incident and can’t sleep well. She no longer wanted to stay over at the houses of her friends and wanted to be with her mother all the time. It has affected her deeply.’

Robinson, of Green Hill Way, Shirley, appeared in court on Tuesday to be sentenced for a charge of engaging in sexual communication with a child.

He also pleaded guilty to a charge of robbery and was jailed for a total of 40 months.

Mr Burch said the robbery related to Robinson’s involvement in an incident on May 10, 2019.

He said Robinson was out with a friend when he saw a man he knew called Daniel Barren, who he had accused of getting him thrown out of a homeless hostel.

Mr Burch said: ‘He got into conversation with Mr Barren.

Mr Barren says he is then punched in the face multiple times, though he can’t say who is inflicting the blows on him. ‘He has his mobile phone, worth £100, stolen from him during the robbery as well as his bank card.

Although he only received minor injuries in the attack he was left suffering from anxiety and problems with his mental health.’ Zaheer Afzal, defending, said Robinson was extremely sorry for his actions and had written a letter to both victims.

Robinson was handed a 32-month sentence for the robbery and a further eight months, to run consecutively, for sexual communication with a child. He was also ordered to sign the sex offender register and a restraining order forbidding him to contact the girl.

Sentencing Robinson, Judge Martin Hurst told him: ‘The girl had what is termed a crush on you and you took advantage of that. ‘You sent her sexual communication of the most graphic nature including asking her to take part in penetrative sex with you. ‘Only her mother discovering the messages on her phone put an end to it.

This was abhorrent behaviour. ‘Mr Barren was punched multiple times in the robbery and although there is no evidence to say you rained down the blows on him this was a nasty attack.

‘You were on the books of West Bromwich Albion and Aston Villa and gained a degree in sport psychology and your life took a downward turn but it can’t excuse your behaviour.’